Your guide to cruising in New Zealand

Celebrity Eclipse Cruising in New Zealand

New Zealand is a popular destination for Australian cruisers, and its port towns offer plenty of culture and history. 

You can learn about Maori traditions on shore excursions to Rotorua, or early contact with the Europeans at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the beautiful Bay of Islands region. Akaroa has unusual French colonial influences, Dunedin boasts a castle and whisky distillery straight out of Scotland, and Napier’s 1930s architecture recalls the American jazz age.

Additionally, highlights of an NZ cruise include anchoring in Akaroa’s splendid bay and tendering ashore and sailing the Queen Charlotte Sound towards Picton. However, all are surpassed by Milford Sound and its fellow fjords on the South Island’s east coast, some of the most dramatic landscapes you could possibly enjoy from the comfort of a cruise ship.

The cruise lines are visiting more New Zealand destinations and some 30 ships visit the country each season, either as part of trans-Pacific voyages or on cruises from Australian ports. If you don’t want to brave the sometimes turbulent Tasman Sea, P&O Cruises’ Pacific Explorer also has New Zealand-only cruises out of Auckland. 

Moreover, small-ship expedition lines such as Silversea, Ponant and local company Heritage Expeditions take more adventurous cruisers off the well-sailed waters by heading to New Zealand’s windswept sub-Antarctic islands such as Campbell Island and the Snares and Auckland islands.

The New Zealand cruise season runs from early October into late April, with December, January and February the peak months. Few ships visit at other times of the year, since winters are chilly. 

Find out more about cruising in New Zealand below.

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Destination Guide of cruising in New Zealand

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